Friday, November 5, 2010

Republicans Have Health Care Plan.

The buzz around the internet is that now that the Republicans have taken control of the house, gridlock will ensue and nothing will get done. That is fine with me, considering that nothing good has gotten done in the last two years anyhow. I would have preferred if even less of the nonsense the Democrats have forced down our throats had failed to launch in the first place. The problem I have with all of the hoopla from Washington is not that they are proposing ideas in such arenas as health care, it is that they are doing it blindly; and also ignoring the vast array of different ideas that have come to them only to be summarily rejected.

I am, of course referring to the 30 health care bills that the Republicans had proposed as of the end of 2009, all of which were ignored by the Democrats in congress. The president would make his address to the people and say that the Republicans have brought nothing to the table. They don't have a plan for health care. Obama would proudly say that they did have a plan for health care. They even admitted that none of them had even read it, yet they assured us it was good for the country and the economy.

I wonder what the 30 bills the Republicans proposed would do for the country and the economy. Let's take a look, shall we? (Summaries of each of the bills will be provided as a reference. Some summaries have been shortened, please look to the full text of these bills for more details. References will be provided.)

For reference, here are the bills currently proposed by the Republicans that have been ignored by the Democrats.
H.R. 77; H.R. 109; H.R. 198; H.R. 270; H.R. 321; H.R. 464; H.R. 502; H.R. 544; H.R. 917; H.R. 1086; H.R. 1118; H.R. 1441; H.R. 1458; H.R. 1468; H.R. 1658; H.R. 1891; H.R. 2520; H.R. 2607; H.R. 2692; H.R. 2784; H.R. 2785; H.R. 2786; H.R. 2787; H.R. 3141; H.R. 3217; H.R. 3218; H.R. 3356; H.R. 3372; H.R. 3400; H.R. 3438; H.R. 3454; and H.R. 3478.

H.R.77(Darrell Issa) Health Care Incentive Act - Directs the Secretary of Labor to allow any employer in interstate commerce that is required by federal or state law to pay a minimum wage rate higher than the current federal rate under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to include the value of creditable health care benefits in determining the required wage.

H.R.109(Jeffrey Fortenberry)America's Affordable Health Care Act of 2009 - Authorizes a health insurance issuer to apply to the Secretary of Health and Human Services to certify health insurance coverage policies offered in the individual market in any state as Health Benefit Plans. Allows certified plans to be offered to individuals in all states without regard to state and local laws respecting mandates for benefits. Requires such plans to cover inpatient hospital services and physicians' surgical and medical services. Requires the Secretary to review the impact of this Act on the availability and purchase of health insurance coverage. Amends the Public Health Service Act to increase the authorization of appropriations for FY2010-FY2014 for grants to states for the creation and operation of qualified high risk health insurance pools. Conditions eligibility for receiving an operating grant on a state submitting to the Secretary evidence-based information on the operation of such pool for purposes of creating best practice guidelines. Requires the Secretary to: (1) recommend and publicly post a list of best practices on the operation of qualified high risk pools; and (2) give a bonus grant to states that demonstrate that their pool was operated in accordance with such best practices.

H.R.198(Clifford Stearns)Health Care Tax Deduction Act of 2009 - Amends the Internal Revenue Code to allow individuals a tax deduction from gross income for health insurance premiums and unreimbursed prescription drug expenses paid for the benefit of the taxpayer, the taxpayer's spouse and dependents.

H.R.270( Robert Latta)TRICARE Continuity of Coverage for National Guard and Reserve Families Act of 2009 - Makes a member of the Retired Reserve who is qualified for a non-regular (reserve) retirement at age 60, but is not yet 60, eligible for health benefits under TRICARE Standard (a Department of Defense (DOD) managed health care program for members of the reserves). Terminates such eligibility when the member becomes eligible for TRICARE Standard at age 60. Includes immediate family members under such coverage. Requires members to pay a premium for such coverage.

H.R.321(Jeffrey Fortenberry)SCHIP Plus Act of 2009 - Amends title XXI (State Children's Health Insurance) (SCHIP) of the Social Security Act to require a state child health plan to provide for the offering of any qualified alternative coverage that a qualified entity seeks to offer targeted low-income children through the plan. Revises requirements with respect to authority for payments to a state for the purchase of family coverage under an employer-sponsored group health plan that includes coverage of targeted low-income children. Prohibits a state child health plan from requiring a targeted low-income child to enroll in such coverage in order to obtain child health assistance under this Act. (Thus requires enrollment to be voluntary.)

H.R.464(Tom Price)More Children, More Choices Act of 2009 - Amends title XXI (State Children's Health Insurance) (SCHIP) of the Social Security Act (SSA) to require a state SCHIP plan to specify how it will achieve coverage for 90% of targeted low-income children. Prohibits SCHIP payment for children with family income above 250% of the applicable poverty line. Sets forth special rules for SCHIP payment for children with family income above 200% of the applicable poverty line. Provides for standardization of income determinations. Applies citizenship documentation requirements to SCHIP beneficiaries, and increases the federal matching rate for citizenship documentation enforcement under SSA title XIX (Medicaid) and SCHIP.

H.R.502(Michele Bachmann)Health Care Freedom of Choice Act - Amends the Internal Revenue Code to allow the tax deduction for medical expenses without the gross income percentage limitation.

H.R.544(Edward Royce)Flexible Health Savings Act of 2009 - Amends the Internal Revenue Code to allow up to $500 of unused health benefits in a plan or other arrangement that provides for a health flexible spending arrangement to be carried forward to the next plan year or be contributed to a health savings account or a qualified retirement plan, without affecting the status of such plan or arrangement as a tax-exempt employee benefit cafeteria plan.

H.R.917(Brett Guthrie)Amends the TRICARE program (a Department of Defense [DOD] managed care program) to require that, when a member of the Armed Forces dies on or after September 11, 2001, because of a combat-related injury incurred while on active duty for a period of more than 30 days, the member's dependents receiving benefits under a contract for medical and dental care shall continue to be eligible for benefits under TRICARE Prime.

H.R.1086(John Gingrey)Help Efficient, Accessible, Low Cost, Timely Healthcare (HEALTH) Act of 2009 - Sets conditions for lawsuits arising from health care liability claims regarding health care goods or services or any medical product affecting interstate commerce. Sets a statute of limitations of three years after the date of manifestation of injury or one year after the claimant discovers the injury, with certain exceptions. Provides that nothing in this Act limits recovery of the full amount of available economic damages. Limits noneconomic damages to $250,000. Makes each party liable only for the amount of damages directly proportional to such party's percentage of responsibility.

H.R.1118(Marsha Blackburn)Health Care Choices for Seniors Act - Amends title II (Old Age, Survivor's and Disability Insurance) (OASDI) of the Social Security Act (SSA) to require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to establish a procedure under which an individual otherwise entitled to benefits under part A (Hospital Insurance) of SSA title XVIII (Medicare) may waive such entitlement and be automatically enrolled in the Medicare Alternative Voucher Program (MAV Program).

H.R.1441(Kenny Marchant)Ryan Dant Health Care Opportunity Act of 2009 - Amends title XIX (Medicaid) of the Social Security Act, as amended by the Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009, to give states the option to disregard certain income in providing continued Medicaid coverage for certain individuals with extremely high annual lifelong orphan drug costs.

 H.R.1458(David Camp)Comprehensive Immunosuppressive Drug Coverage for Kidney Transplant Patients Act of 2009.

H.R.1468( Michael Burgess)Medical Justice Act of 2009 - Sets forth provisions regulating civil actions for an injury or death as the result of health care. Sets forth limits on: (1) the non-economic damages that an individual may recover from health care practitioners and health care institutions; and (2) the total damages that a person may recover from any single liable health care practitioner. Declares that an insurer of a health care practitioner or health care institution that rejects a reasonable settlement offer within policy limits is not, by reason of such rejection, liable for damages in excess of the liability of the insured. Sets forth requirements for qualified expert reports.

H.R.1658(Todd Tiahrt)Veterans Healthcare Commitment Act of 2009 - Prohibits anything in current law provisions authorizing the recovery by the United States of the cost of certain medical care and services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to veterans for non-service-connected disabilities from allowing the United States to recover or collect any charges from any third party for care or services furnished to a veteran for a service-connected disability.

H.R.1891(Rodney Alexander)Sunset of Life Protection Act of 2009 - Amends the Internal Revenue Code to allow a deduction from gross income for 50% of long-term care premiums without regard to the 7.5 % adjusted gross income limitation applicable to other medical or dental expenses. Allows individual taxpayers to claim such tax deduction regardless of whether they itemize other deductions.

H.R.2520(Paul Ryan)Patients' Choice Act - Requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to convene an inter-agency coordinating committee to develop a national strategic plan for prevention. Provides for health promotion and disease prevention activities consistent with such plan. Sets forth provisions governing the establishment and operation of state-based health care exchanges to facilitate the individual purchase of private health insurance and the creation of a market where private health plans compete for enrolls based on price and quality. Amends the Internal Revenue Code to allow a refundable tax credit for qualified health care insurance coverage.

H.R.2607(Samuel Johnson)Small Business Health Fairness Act of 2009 - Amends the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) to provide for establishment and governance of association health plans (AHPs), which are group health plans whose sponsors are trade, industry, professional, chamber of commerce, or similar business associations, and which meet certain ERISA certification requirements.

H.R.2692(William Thornberry)CAH Designation Waiver Authority Act of 2009 - Amends title XVIII (Medicare) of the Social Security Act with respect to the Medicare rural hospital flexibility program a state may establish. Authorizes state designation of a Medicare critical access hospital (CAH), even if it does not comply with the requirement that it be located more than a 35-mile drive from another hospital, if it is certified by the state on or after enactment of this Act as being a necessary provider of health care services to residents in the area.

H.R.2784(William Thornberry)Partnership to Improve Seniors Access to Medicare Act - Directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to establish a student loan repayment program for qualified physicians and nurse practitioners participating in Medicare who agree to accept Medicare individuals who seek the services of such health professionals.

H.R.2785(William Thornberry)Health Care Paperwork Reduction and Fraud Prevention Act of 2009 - Establishes the Commission on Health Care Billing Codes and Forms Simplification.

H.R.2786(William Thornberry)Patient Fairness and Indigent Care Promotion Act of 2009 - Amends the Internal Revenue Code to allow certain medical care providers a tax deduction for uncompensated medical care provided to individuals with income below 135% of the poverty line.

H.R.2787(William Thornberry)Medical Liability Procedural Reform Act of 2009 - Authorizes the Attorney General to award grants to states to develop, implement, and evaluate health care tribunals. Defines "health care tribunal" to mean a trial court or administrative tribunal.

H.R.3141(John Sullivan)Strengthening the Health Care Safety Net Act of 2009 - Amends title XIX (Medicaid) of the Social Security Act to establish a disproportionate share hospital (DSH) redistribution pool from unexpended Medicaid DSH allotments to fund an increase in allotments for low DSH states. Directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services to award demonstration grants to health access networks to improve access, quality, and continuity of care for uninsured individuals through better coordination of care by such networks.

H.R.3217(John Shadegg)Health Care Choice Act of 2009 - Amends the Public Health Service Act to provide that the laws of the state designated by a health insurance issuer (primary state) shall apply to individual health insurance coverage offered by that issuer in the primary state and in any other state (secondary state), but only if the coverage and issuer comply with the conditions of this Act. Exempts issuers from any secondary state's laws that would prohibit or regulate the operation of the issuer in such state, subject to certain restrictions imposed by such state.

H.R.3218(John Shadegg)Improving Health Care for All Americans Act - Amends the Internal Revenue Code to allow a tax credit for the amount paid by the taxpayer for qualified health insurance coverage, excluding any employer subsidized coverage, and for medical care. Amends the Public Health Service Act to provide for the establishment and governance of individual membership associations (IMAs) to make available health benefits coverage to all members of the IMA.

H.R.3356(Samuel Johnson)Medicare Beneficiary Freedom to Choose Act of 2009 - Amends title XVIII (Medicare) to revise requirements for the use of private contracts by Medicare beneficiaries under which no Medicare claims shall be made. Requires any such contract to be in writing and signed by the Medicare beneficiary. Allows individuals to choose to opt out of the Medicare part A (Hospital Insurance), and makes them eligible for health savings accounts.

H.R.3372(Tom Price)Health Care OverUse Reform Today Act (HealthCOURT Act) of 2009 - Directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to propose to Congress a formalized process for the development of performance-based quality measures that could be applied to physicians' services under title XVIII (Medicare) of the Social Security Act.

H.R.3400(Tom Price)Empowering Patients First Act - Amends the Internal Revenue Code to allow a tax credit for qualified health insurance costs to residents of a state that implements a high-risk pool, a reinsurance pool, or other risk-adjustment mechanism. Amends the Public Health Service Act to provide for the establishment and governance of individual membership associations (IMAs) to make available health benefits coverage to IMA members and their dependents.

H.R.3438(Darrell Issa)Access to Insurance for all Americans Act - Directs the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to administer a health insurance program for non-federal employees and to apply to such program the provisions governing the federal employee health insurance program to the greatest extent practicable. Requires OPM, for each calendar year, to enter into a contract with one or more carriers to make health benefits plans available to eligible individuals.

H.R.3454(John Sullivan)Medicare Hospice Reform and Savings Act of 2009 - Amends title XVIII (Medicare) of the Social Security Act to revise payments and coverage for hospice care under the Medicare program. Prescribes conditions for recovery by the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) of repayment demands from a hospice program for any accounting year during the four-year period ending on October 31, 2009

H.R.3478(Louis Gohmert)Patient-Controlled Healthcare Protection Act of 2009 - Establishes an Advantage HSA (health savings account) program to provide payments to individuals in lieu of benefits under the Medicare, Medicaid, and Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP, formerly known as SCHIP) of the Social Security Act.

Hell of a list, right? Now why would I put the summary of all of these bills in this post? I want to give everyone a good idea of what the Republicans have been trying to do with health care for some time now. Now I don't know how good most of this stuff is, but I will be going over these and attempting to pick out the best of them to see if any of these bills would make a good substitute for the monstrosity known as Obamacare. I see a few already that look pretty good. If you see any you would like for me to investigate further, please leave a comment.

Here are a couple of good resources where you can see the full text of all of these proposed bills and decide for yourself if your elected officials are trying to do what's best for the country, or if they are pumping out the same slop as the Democrats have been.
http://www.govtrack.us/congress/legislation.xpd
http://www.opencongress.org/bill/all
http://www.gpoaccess.gov/bills/index.html
http://thomas.loc.gov/
http://www.congressionalbills.org/ (Currently has all bills from 1947-2008)
http://www.congress.org/congressorg/issuesaction/bill/
http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/browse/collection.action?collectionCode=BILLS
http://www.house.gov/house/Legproc.shtml
http://www.senate.gov/pagelayout/legislative/d_three_sections_with_teasers/bills.htm (Senate Bills)

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